Lobbyists Cut Ties With 'Putin's Pipeline'

Vladimir Putin inspects the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in 2010 / Getty Images
February 24, 2022

Three lobbying firms are terminating their contracts with the companies behind the Nord Stream 2 oil pipeline in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Roberti Global, whose chairman has advised President Joe Biden, said it will cut ties with Nord Stream 2 AG, the Swiss company that operates "Putin's pipeline." BGR Government Affairs is also dropping Nord Stream 2 as a client, according to reports. Both firms have received millions of dollars lobbying for Nord Stream 2 AG, a subsidiary of Russian state-owned oil giant Gazprom.

McLarty Inbound, a firm started by Clinton administration officials, said it is ending its representation of five European companies financing the pipeline, which transports oil from Russia to Germany.

"McLarty Inbound has terminated its representation of the five West European companies who are investors in the pipeline," a spokesman for the firm told the Washington Free Beacon.

The contract terminations followed Biden's announcement that he will impose sanctions against Nord Stream 2. Biden waived sanctions on the pipeline last May, angering critics who said Nord Stream 2 gives Vladimir Putin more control over Eastern Europe. Biden said the pipeline was nearly complete and that sanctioning the project would hurt relations with Germany. The president reversed course after the German government said it would shut down the pipeline after Russian forces invaded Ukraine.

The three American lobbying firms led the charge on Capitol Hill to block sanctions and allow completion of the pipeline. Their chief claim was that Putin would not exploit the pipeline for geopolitical gain and that Germany supported it to meet its energy needs.

Vincent Roberti, the chairman of Roberti Global, contributed heavily to Democratic leaders such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.). Roberti advised Biden during his 2008 presidential campaign. Lobbyists at McLarty used their positions at the Atlantic Council, a prominent foreign policy think tank, to make the case against sanctions.